The selection of Scott Feldman as the Opening Day starter by the Cincinnati Reds can be reduced to one word: attrition.
The Reds announced Monday that the 34-year-old righthander will face the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day April 3.
They had only two real options — Feldman or Brandon Finnegan. From there they aren’t even certain who will fill out the rest of the rotation with two weeks remaining in spring training.
WITH THE LOSS OF HOMER Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani through injuries the Reds two logical selections for Opening Day were taken away.
Why Feldman and not Finnegan? Probably because Feldman has Opening Day experience. He started Opening Day games while pitching for the Texas Rangers and for the Houston Astros. While he didn’t win either game, the Rangers and Astros did win.
But it is still a shocker. Feldman was signed in January to a one-year $2.3 million contract after the club traded Dan Straily. It was thought Feldman could be a possible long relief operative and perhaps as a spot starter.
Now he is pitching on Opening Day.
AND WHO IS HE? HE was a 34th-round draft pick by the Texas Rangers out of the College of San Mateo (California) in 2003. The 6-foot-7, 210-pounder owns a 71-77 career record with a 4.40 earned run average in 321 major league appearances, 183 as a starter.
His spring numbers are just so-so. In three starts over eight innings he has given up six runs (four earned), seven hits, walked two and struck out seven.
And in his latest appearance, a morning ‘B’ game against the Chicago White Sox last Friday he pitched four innings and gave up three runs, seven hits, walked none and struck out three.
AND WHAT’S A DAY without negative news on the injury front concerning pitchers.
Raisel Iglesias, last season’s Opening Day starter, was scratched from a ‘B’ game appearance Sunday morning with elbow discomfort and back issues. Iglesias was plagued last season by shoulder tightness and tenderness, which is why the Reds planned to use him out of the bullpen this year.
It has not been determined how serious Iglesias is injured and how much of a setback this is.
THE POSITIVE NEWS continues to emanate from the young arms in camp.
It was Rookie Davis, a true rookie by name and experience, once again performing at a high level Monday against the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Ariz., a 10-6 Reds victory accomplished via an eight-run eighth inning.
He pitched four innings and gave up one run, three hits, walked one and struck out three. And he induced two double plays.
The Royals scored their run off him in the fifth on a single by Paulo Orlando and a double to Ryan O’Hearn in the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, the Reds couldn’t do much against Kansas City starter Cole Hammel. They didn’t have a hit until a one-out single by Devin Mesoraco in the fifth.
Hammel started the sixth and left th game with one out after a Joey Votto doubled. The Reds scored on a sacrifice fly of Eugenio Suarez against Albert Alburquerque, although the run was charged to Hammel (5 1/3 innings, one run, three hits, one walk, five strikeouts.
THE NEWS WASN’T SO good for rotation candidate Tim Adleman. He arrived in the sixth and gave up an infield single to Alex Gordon and a long two-run home run to Ryan O’Hearn and the Reds fell behind, 3-1.
And the Royals added another run in the seventh against Adleman on a rally started by former Reds catcher Brayan Pena, a single to center. The run scored on a two-out single by Humberto Arteaga for a 4-2 Royals lead.
Adleman pitched a 1-2-3 eighth but took a line drive off his hip that was converted into an inning-ending out.
AS HAS HAPPENED SO MANY this spring, the players battling for roster spots and the minor leaguers rescued the Reds.
They scored eight runs in the eighth inning.
Four players battling for roster spots open the eighth with singles — Hernan Iribarren, Zach Vincej, Arismendy Alcantara and Stuart Turner to draw the Reds within 4-3.
With one out, Adleman did at the plate what he wasn’t doing on the mound. He produced. Adleman doubled for two runs and a 5-4 lead.
Turner scored on a wild pitch and Juan Perez doubled for another run and a 7-4 lead. Iribarren, hitting .333 this spring, singled for the second time in the inning for an 8-4 lead. Alcantara, hitting .262 this spring, singled for his second hit of the inning and two more runs and a 10-4 lead.
Lefthanded bullpen candidate Wandy Peralta didn’t improve his resume by giving up tw runs and three hits in the bottom of the ninth.